They say all is fair in love and war, but after one New Yorker’s nightmare-fulled dating disaster has gone viral, it’s apparent that a clause be added to that adage. Because when it comes to matters of the heart, Maison Margiela’s Tabi shoes should be left out of the bedroom. Rather, behind a six-inch steel vault kept under lock and key and away from sticky fingers. Break our hearts, but do not come from our $1,000 shoes.
This story begins, like any romance should, with a simple connection. Manhattan-based influencer Alexis Dougé (who goes by the handle @nextlevellexus) matched with someone on Tinder—who (from his profile) is a 5’10, 23-year-old named Joshua. Without abusing the metaphor too much, they got off on the right foot, seeing each other in SoHo in real life before chatting over the app.
On their second date, the Tinder swindler came over to Dougé’s apartment. As it transpired, Joshua had ulterior motives, leaving their date with more than he came for: her Mary-Jane Tabis. As one user wrote in the comment section of Dougé’s now-viral video, “Fashion guys are sinister”.
“New York fashion girlies beware, this man is out here on Tinder and Hinge and he will steal from you,” Dougé started her video. “He seems like a nice guy and someone I would just probably hang out with for a little fling,” she continued, sharing screenshots of his dating profile in the process.
“He was pretty persistent about seeing me again and hanging. So, fast forward he comes over and we sleep together. Before we slept together we were chatting about fashion and how he really wants Tabis.” The first red flag.
The second red flag came the morning after their hook-up, with Joshua hoping to show her a Spotify playlist that he thought she’d like (it wasn’t the Pink Panther theme, but it should’ve been). Dougé handed Joshua her phone as he didn’t have the app. Hours pass, and her Mary Janes have vanished. Missing in action. Nowhere to be seen.
“I looked high and low and I can’t find them anywhere, and said ‘OK, that’s fine I’m not going to be accusatory’, I just wanted to see if he knew where I put them,” Dougé continued. “I go on Tinder to message him… unmatched, gone and I’m like ‘Oh no, this b**** stole my shoes.” Just like her Tabis, Joshua’s phone number was missing from her life too.
As anyone who has ever dated in New York would know, the island of Manhattan is a small place. Within a few hours of Dougé’s video being shared throughout the boroughs at hypersonic speed, someone had located Joshua. More importantly, they had tracked down her Tabis, too.
“You guys boosted this s*** so well and got it to the right audiences. Someone reached out to me, knew who he was and gave me his Instagram,” she added. But, before she could even make contact with the Tabi thief, Dougé received a DM from a third party claiming to be Joshua’s girlfriend who, plot twist, just received a pair of Tabs from him.
“My friend has been dating him for months and he just gave her a pair of tabis!!!!!,” they wrote. “Do you have receipts I can show her?? so freaking out for her rn.”
YALLLL THERES AN UPDATE pic.twitter.com/c1WJ2Ly29A
— girly teengirl (@demonicaquarius) September 2, 2023
“I sent him a screenshot of his girlfriend wearing my tabs and hours later I got a text message saying ‘ight you got me, I’ll give you back your shoes can you take down the video?’,” Dougé added.
She concluded the saga with a video of herself reuniting with Joshua to pick up her shoes from Grand Central Station. “SECURED!! This man is a demon. He was smiling the whole time,” Dougé wrote.
Naturally, this story piqued the interest of TikTok’s fashion sect.
i am so invested in the tabi swindler now, LIKE HE STOLE HER TABIS?? pic.twitter.com/2F8IrQ4UzO
— andriana シ (@BOTTEGAHOENETA) September 2, 2023
“Iight you caught me.” – the Tabi swiper, 2023 pic.twitter.com/9GROEkjJ8y
— suzybishop's scissors (@hisuzybishop) September 2, 2023
so jushua the tabi swiper calculatedly matched this fashion girlie on tinder, passed her in the street leading to a date where he blew her back out twice and heisted her margiela tabi shoes, ghosted her, then GIFTED THE SHOES TO HIS GIRLFRIEND?!
i would need therapy after this. pic.twitter.com/TjcB3z1Iyh
— luca (@LucaGuadagnegro) September 2, 2023
The dame of Margiela Tabis herself, Brenda “Hashtag” Weischer even wrote on Twitter: “Stop tagging me in the Tabi Tinder thief content I would never let a man into my closet.”
stop tagging me in the tabi tinder thief content i would never let a man into my closet
— brenda (@brendahashtag) September 2, 2023
Though owning a pair of the pervasive footwear is fashion capital, is the fact men are stooping so low to steal their date’s shoes a sign of the times? Has dating become so heinous that not even our shoes are safe? Or, is the cost of living crisis so uncontrollable we’re stooping to extreme measures?
Either way, this story is a warning of the perils of modern dating. We hope the writers of And Just Like That are taking notes about the antics the men of Manhattan are getting up to.
Thoughts and prayers for all the single women out there, we may not have a significant other, but at least we have our shoes.